How to Remove Spray Paint From Wood Furniture Without Damaging the Finish

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When paint over-spray attaches itself to wood furniture, it can be difficult to remove without damaging the underlying finish you are attempting to save. Harsh chemical cleaners can cause spray paint to bond further, while vigorous abrasion techniques can strip away the finish along with the paint. If you wish to remove spray paint from finished wood furniture, you must use specific techniques that will clean the surface without marring the wood with unsightly scratches and faded spots.

How to Remove Spray Paint From Wood Furniture Without Damaging the Finish
(John Wiley/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic putty knife
  • Cloth rags
  • Olive oil
  • Mineral spirits
Step 1

Apply four to five drops of olive oil to a dry, clean rag and wipe down the spray paint, lubricating the finished wood to prevent scratches.

John Wiley/Demand Media
Step 2

Cover the spray paint with a cloth rag. Scrape the paint from the finished wood using a plastic putty knife. Keep the rag between the scraper and the paint as a protective buffer to avoid damaging the surface.

John Wiley/Demand Media
Step 3

Wipe away excess olive oil using a dry, clean rag.

John Wiley/Demand Media
Step 4

Dampen the corner of a fresh, clean rag with mineral spirits. Wipe away any remaining spray paint using the rag. Dry the mineral spirits using a fresh, clean rag.

John Wiley/Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use lacquer thinner or paint strippers in place of mineral spirits, as these will remove the finish along with the paint.
  • Do not scrape paint from a finished wood surface that has not been lubricated.
  • Do not leave mineral spirits on finished furniture for longer than 15 seconds, as this could damage the varnish or lighten the furniture's stain.
  • Do not use a metal putty knife in place of a plastic one or you risk damaging the furniture's finish.
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